Ignore the date of the heading above, this was originally posted in October, 2020. I’m beginning to tire of WordPress! Especially with its rather irritating knack of randomly adding ”
<span style=”font-size: 1.6rem;”>” to my posts!
Well, it’s been some time since my last post. Such a long time, I’d say we’re probably better off not even looking up exactly when I was last pounding the keys at this little corner of the web. I’m back! So obviously, we eventually moved in to our new house, but I’m not going to be talking about that today, not that it isn’t wonderful, it’s amazing. Just that I can save posts like that for a year-end deluge! Likewise with other personal stuff, it’ll keep.
What I am going to talk about is my walk on Saturday, so named – “The First” – not that I’ve gone all ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘. Nope, and again this is probably obvious, this was my first walk (other than going to Tesco and the shop) from my new home. For days I had been planning on doing a much longer walk, however, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this or not, my right leg is really quite crook and thanks to the pandemic, it may be some time before I get it looked at. (As opposed to various Zoom appointments with Physiotherapists who also think the appointment is a waste of time and effort!) Sensibly, I opted for a much shorter walk, but one which still heavily featured my go-to destination of the year – The Moss. The pseudo-pedantic amongst us would comment that The Moss is not a destination as I don’t actually stay there, the destination being home…the pseudo pedantic are an irksome lot!
I left the house (and yes after seventeen years of living in a flat it does feel good saying ‘house’) a little after 09:40 and within moments had the horrible realisation flood over me that I had not taken any painkillers, this meant that Tesco would be my first port of call in order to get some Ibuprofen or Paracetamol, ultimately I bought some super-strength Anadin with added Caffeine – there was going to be no stopping me! I also bought a bottle of smart water, I don’t subscribe to any cockamamie theory about it being any more healthy for a person that normal bottled water, it was just all that was available on the water stakes.
Having crossed the usually-stupidly-busy A570 I turned left after a few hundred metres and onto Pool Hey Lane. This is one of Southport’s longest streets-without-a-name-change. Also, it is one of those streets where the paving takes a decided turn for the slanted and one can end up kind of sore until the pavement runs out, after over a mile. The weather was on my side today. Views opened up all around but thankfully the sun never really started to beat down on me and cause me to overheat – I had my autumn ‘Regatta’ coat on, with a jumper underneath so certainly did not need hot weather with which to contend. The ever-present whooping of overhead Canada geese would keep my interest at every point, usually if I had stopped for a rest, which happens when one has a busted leg!
The recent wet weather had created a number of new (temporary) shallow lakes for the wildlife and I did stop to take a photo of one of these. However, as I did this I heard an emerging train and decided to get a short video file of this too, just because.
I carefully crossed the level crossing, as one of these had featured in a dream I had a few weeks ago (can’t remember what happened but the fact that I had a dream with level crossings in was enough to cause an alert), this was like stepping over a threshold into a warmer zone and not for the first time I regretted adorning my jumper today. The next few miles were essentially punctuated by me letting car drivers have priority when we met not near ‘passing places’, there are quite a few of these on this route.
All too soon I was approaching the end of Pool Hey Lane and turning left on to Wyke Lane. Again this was stepping across another threshold as Pool Hey is a largely straight road, Wyke Lane traverses 90 degrees then bends back on itself 90 degrees and the undulations are unmissable.
I rounded all of the corners without any fuss, even pausing to motion drivers to take the priority, I don’t like it when they make me walk quicker than I want to. And before long I was within sight of the turn-off for Moss Lane, but I was not going to be taking this. No, I had already planned my route to turn off and take the definitely rural route which traverses the covert I found on a map last summer.
With the weather having been so shockingly wet for the last
week, month, season, year, decade, I thought it prudent to not go through the little wood and put my ankles in jeopardy and to skirt the perimeter instead. This served me well and afforded some weirdo driving a Range Rover a little time to follow me…until I quite overtly took a photo of his number plates, then by some act of nature he pissed off, as I say, weirdo (I attract them!). I managed to ascend the oddly pitched step up from the track to the beginning of the now fenced-off Crowland Street having not been attacked by the local insect wildlife, which made a nice change, ordinarily I look like I’ve been in a fight with a vampire when walking through the countryside! And so now the rural part of the walk was complete and now for a very short time at least I was in the industrial zone.
The top of Crowland Street is no great scene of beauty! There are wrecking yards galore, all manner of small industries and lots of evidence of fly-tipping. But it does have a heartbeat, and one that is audible as a constant low-frequency buzzing. You don’t get this in other areas of Southport which is why I refer to it as a heartbeat, because it’s vital, essential. If it wasn’t for all this mess there would be less income for the town, higher unemployment, less housing. If there is one thing this horrid year has taught me, it’s to consider the bigger, wider picture, Crowland Street in its own scruffy way acts serves to emphasize this. By now it felt like the super-strength Anadin pills were wearing off, I slowed my pace down, no mean feat for me, and I chose to take in a bit more of the scenery. The house styles changed from terraced to semi-detached, the gardens got larger and more maintained and the traffic became louder and sounded faster. Before long I was merging with Norwood Road, or whatever it gets called in this vicinity, as it changes name often.
It was still too early to be bothered by football traffic, in addition, this is Southport – I don’t think football traffic is ever an issue here, so I crossed over the main road and headed to Haig Avenue – home to Southport FC. The turnstiles were still locked – it was only just passed twelve p.m. – no need to open for another two and three-quarter hours! All the same this must be one of the most autumnally pleasant walks passing by any football stadium in the country. This was emphasised when a flock of geese flew overhead and it struck me that Justin Heyward’s words “I watch the birds fly south across the autumn sky…” are in fact wrong! The geese we get are from Siberia – coming Westerly (from Siberia’s perspective) and from Iceland – coming in from the West (but to them heading east). So where are the birds flying south to? And from where, our lazy buggers don’t go anywhere! I crossed Scarisbrick New Road and onto the hilarious sounding “Everard Street” – no points for saying ‘is Viagra manufactured there?’, we’ve all already said it!
Of all the walks I’ve done in Southport, this was the first time that I have ever set foot on this street, I remain neither over- or indeed underwhelmed. There are some nice gardens but that’s just about it, nothing about which I might enthuse…it’s neither Bailey nor Cross Lane! Within a few moments I turned left on to Southbank Road – which again changes name (are they being sponsored for this?) to tadah: Town Lane. This road is not be confused with Town Lane Kew (it really is called that) from which this road emerges, it’s not as bad as Rivington Road / Lane / Belmont Road – were the only people who can say for definite where they are – are the ones who are lost, but y’know, could they not have just picked a different name when planning this area? There is a very budget-swallowing pedestrian crossing on route, one side of it has a path which will ultimately lead the walker to the front of a monstrous-sized block of flats / apartments and the other side off to some marsh land next to Dobbies, I’m being cruel there, Kew woods will be nice when it’s grown!
And then I was home, well almost, I crossed over Town Lane Kew / Town Lane (no seriously, could one of them not been named a ‘road’, ‘way’ or even ‘drive’?) and onto Blowick Moss Lane, where the first person said to me “Good morning, or afternoon, or whatever it is now”. I returned his greeting and appreciated his sentiment as right now the sky was pretty overcast meaning it could be morning or evening. By now there was a massive assembly of geese – far bigger than a ‘gaggle’ and I found this a wonderful last sighting upon which to finish what had been a wonderful first walk from our new house!